Central Queensland Health lags behind state average

Accordingto the latest government statistics Central Queenslanders lag behind the restof the state on several important health matters.
Fifteenpercent are daily smokers which is a 42 percent higher rate than the rest ofQueensland; 30 percent are obese which is 20 percent higher than the rest ofthe state; 24 percent of adults are risky drinkers, a 10 percent higher ratethan the rest of the state; while 29 percent of Central Queenslanders have amental illness which is a little over the state average by two percent.
The Directorof Central Queensland Public Health Unit Dr Gulam Khandaker said the 2020
ChiefHealth Officer report on the Health of Queenslanders, released on November 5,offered an interesting insight into tobacco smoking in Central Queensland.
“Whilethere had been a slight increase from 2018 in the general smoking statistics,the number of women who smoked during pregnancy had decreased slightly by onepercent to 16 percent,” said Dr Khandaker.
He said thestatistics revealed that there was still a lot of work to be done to make an impactand reach Destination 2030’s 9.5 percent target, despite Central Queensland beinga top performer in Queensland Quitline referrals and registrations,” said Khandaker.
“Since 2009,Central Queensland’s adult smoking trends had seen a 2.1 percent annualdecrease in daily smoking, with smoking cessation increasing by 0.7 percentannually.
“Our adultdaily smoking rate remains the third highest in Queensland behind otherregional Hospital and Health Services of Torres and Cape and North West.,” Khandakersaid.
The 2030 reportnoted that populations with historically higher smoking prevalence will takelonger to fully realise the benefits of increasing smoking cessation trends.”
“In recentCOVID times Quitline registrations decreased across Queensland, and anecdotalreports from Central Queensland community organisations revealed some ex-smokershad taken up the habit again in stressful times,” Khandaker said.
On thesubject of obesity the doctor said there were many programs and a lot ofinformation available for people who wanted to achieve a healthy weight.
“Every oneof us needs to take responsibility for living our healthiest life and thismeans reducing portion sizes, eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables anddoing more physical activity,” Khandaker said.
“Obesitycontributes to many chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease,some lifestyle-related cancers, and it causes joint and back pain.”
The numberof risky drinkers in Central Queensland is of concern to Khandaker.
There is along list of ill effects caused by alcohol, including violence, injury due tofalls, dehydration and behavioural problems,” the doctor explained.
“There arealso long-term effects for those with repeated and regular high alcoholconsumption leading to health consequences including liver disease, cancers,heart and blood vessel illnesses, damage to muscles and bones and digestivedisorders.”
Drinkingduring pregnancy also raises the risks of birth defectes, learning difficultiesand behaviour problems for babies.
“There isplenty of room for improvement when it comes to Central Queenslanders’ healthand wellbeing, and it is up to every one of us to make healthy choices thatwill ultimately help us get the most out of life.” the doctor advised.